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The Roundup July 18 & 19: The Week By The Numbers

Jeffrey Peek, CEO, CIT

“Why, oh, why did I pick the BLUE pill?”

The amount of further bailout money the Obama Administration made available to CIT this week. CEO Jeff Peak first tried washing Presidential motorcade windshields, but has now taken to standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign. Face it, friends, everything’s over at CIT except the over part. CIT’s imminent failure is major news for small businesses and some startups, since they’re one of the biggest business lenders on the block. Uncle Sam giveth. Uncle Sam taketh away.

The percentage increase in Google’s revenues over the second quarter of last year, signalling an end to the search giant’s long record of double-digit earnings growth. Even though it’s one of the only publicly-traded companies in the solar system to actually grow in this economy, the stock got pummeled. Will Chrome OS get their mojo back? You, it turns out, will decide.

The number of years Federal Reserve policymakers this week announced it would take for the economy and labor market to become healthy again. Actually, they came to this conclusion a month ago and decided to keep it under wraps for a month. Better keep those shoestring venture skills honed.

12, 17, and 47
The percentage decline in General Electric’s sales, revenue, and income respectively in the second quarter of 2009. Since capital spending is one relatively reliable barometer of a potential recovery, this dramatic slump at General Electric ain’t the best news on the beat this week.

The number of states with unemployment rates over 10%, with Michigan way ahead of the pack at 15%. No state has posted a jobless rate of 15% since West Virginia achieved that ignoble mark back in 1984.

The total percentage cut in pay Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislature will be imposing on California state workers in the new budget. While state employees lose their homes and dine on Top Ramen three times a day, highly-paid state workers, such as the legislative counsel’s office, are exempt. State legislators, who seem to be on a permanent furlough, take home $134,000 per year and make and additional $162 per day for each day the legislature is in session, almost double the second highest salary for paid out to state legislators (New York, at $79K per year; the lowest is Delaware, which pays $100 per year). Seems everyone is being asked to make a sacrifice except the people who are doing the asking.

The number of sensitive corporate documents stolen from Twitter in a hacker attack this week. Why should you care? Because the hacker found his way to all this sensitive information by hacking online services such as Gmail (the first that he cracked), PayPal, Hotmail, Google Apps, MobileMe, and even iTunes. He also got all his preliminary information simply by searching the Internet. Armed with employee email addresses and a ton of personal and business information about those employees, he was able, through patient persistence, to get into the Twitter computers. You should learn and memorize this lesson.

The number of Pennsylvania state workers who received no paycheck for the work they did in the first two weeks of July. Instead, their paycheck envelope had a note that read, “Budget Impasse Leave without Pay.” Meanwhile, as in California, both the governor and state legislators — who aren’t talking to one another to resolve the budget impasse — received real paychecks in their paychecks. Who said that the quality of a leader comes out in a crisis?

In dollars, the net income reported by Goldman Sachs for the second quarter 2009, its largest quarterly profit in over 140 years in business. Considering that the firm had an effective federal tax rate of 1% last year — and took in billions of taxpayer dollars — the return to brobdignagian profitability sent more than a few blood pressures soaring. Even Bill O’Reilly got pissed off, and you know how rarely that happens. Greed, it seems, is back in style.

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